Phase 1 of Te Tau Papa o Avarua Project begins


Official commencement of phase 1 of Te Tau Papa o Avarua project has been marked today with the unveiling of two project signboards.

Dignitaries including New Zealand High Commissioner to Cook Islands Her Excellency Tui Dewes, Minister for Punanga Nui Market Honourable George Angene and Minister of Cook Islands Investment Corporation Honourable Albert Nicholas spoke at the milestone event.

Cook Islands Investment Corporation will oversee management of Te Tau Papa o Avarua Phase 1 Project, which will be completed in two stages at an approximate cost of $7.6 million and will serve as part of the larger 20 to 30 year plan; Te Tau Papa o Avarua – Avarua Town Plan.

The draft of this master plan was introduced in March 2019. Now four years later, a small subset of the larger plan will come to fruition. 

Phase 1 will address the immediate steps towards achieving a number of objectives within the Panama Reserve, Punanga Nui Market and Avarua Township.

These include reorganisation of the Punanga Nui Market and development of facilities that will enhance customer experience and service delivery from farmers, providers of arts and crafts, fishermen, beautification of green spaces throughout the Avarua Township vicinity and beautification of the Panama Reserve.

Minister of Cook Islands Investment Corporation, Honourable Albert Nicholas says  consultations and planning to get to this stage has taken almost 12 months.

“In March this year, a concept plan was presented to the public and extensive consultation took place with market vendors, members of the public, the Panama Community, church and Ui Ariki,” he says.

Funding for this project comes under the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF), financed by New Zealand. This budget was approved by the ITF steering committee in November 2022.

Construction of the new Punanga Nui farmers market is planned to commence in December. Traffic and public safety plans will be in place and publicised prior to this work taking place.

An information booth is now open and located at the Punanga Nui Market office. 

Information available includes FAQs and factsheets and links to detailed information online about the project plans and policy development.

A project video will also be on continuous playback on the television at the booth.

For project inquiries, please contact: CIIC Asset Development Division, email: or phone: 29-391.

Photo credits: NZ High Commission, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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